The Tocqueville Society


The Tocqueville Society recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions in Southeast Louisiana who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues.



Make a Lasting Impression with the Tocqueville Society

This philanthropic group was named by United Way of America for the Frenchman Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clerel de Tocqueville, who critiqued our country’s evolving political and social structure in Democracy in America (1835 and 1840) and declared himself most impressed with Americans’ generosity:

“I must say that I have seen Americans make great and real sacrifices to the public welfare; and I have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend faithful support to one another.”




The United Way Tocqueville Society aims to:

  • Change lives through philanthropic leadership focused on the building blocks for a better life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement, and good health
  • Communicate the vital role of personal philanthropic action in creating long-lasting changes
  • Expand high-level personal giving and United Way Major and Planned Giving programs
  • Strengthen local United Way leadership by building a network of like-minded leaders across the globe

Our Tocqueville Society was formed in 1985 by C. Allen Favrot, a native of New Orleans, who followed a long family tradition of philanthropy and service to our community. Our current membership includes over one hundred and fifty civic and philanthropic leaders who understand our community’s challenges and who want to be a part of the solution. An annual gift to United Way of $10,000 places you among this uniquely engaged group of philanthropists.

Read more about the origins of the Tocqueville Society.



The Alexis de Tocqueville Society of Southeast Louisiana counts within its ranks a diverse array of exceptional leadership. Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, and community activists are bound together by a major commitment of resources in support of the common good.

The one criterion for membership is an annual gift of at least $10,000. The gift must come from an individual’s personal resources or a living family foundation. Corporate gifts qualify only when the donor privately owns the company. Gifts from publicly held companies do not qualify for Tocqueville membership.


  • Joining a national network of philanthropic leaders who are engaged locally to create long-lasting, positive changes
  • Partnering with a quality organization and dedicated staff; ensuring that gifts, voice, and time are efficiently invested in local communities to maximize impact
  • The unique position of United Way as one of the world’s premier philanthropic organizations which can be used to convene community business and civic leaders focused on the building blocks of a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement; and good health
  • Local Tocqueville Society leaders along with National Society and Million Dollar Roundtable members are invited to attend national and worldwide gatherings of Tocqueville and Million Dollar Roundtable Member
  • Invitations to events exclusively for Tocqueville members
  • Special recognition at the Alexis De Tocqueville Celebration

Contact Michelle by email or 504-827-9258 to learn how you can become involved in the United Way Tocqueville Society and inquire about local membership benefits.




Alexis de Tocqueville admired three elements in North American society: liberty, equality, and the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. These same elements are embraced in the French national motto: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.” Tocqueville believed that by achieving these elements of democracy, all people would choose to pursue freedom, knowledge and prosperity, or indépendance, connaissance, and prospérité.

Special orders of recognition have been created based on these concepts, and distinguished by each member’s chosen level of giving:

  • La Table Ronde de Millions de Dollars - $1,000,000+
  • Ordre de Prospérité - $750,000-999,999
  • Ordre de Connaissance - $500,000- $749,999
  • Ordre d'Indépendance - $250,000-$499,999
  • La Société Nationale - $100,000-249,999
  • Ordre d'Egalité - $50,000 - $74,999
  • Ordre de Liberté - $25,000 - $49,999
  • Ordre de Générosité - $15,000- $24,999
  • Membres de la Société - $10,000-$14,999




Each year, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way of Southeast Louisiana presents its highest award for exemplary leadership in community, volunteerism, and philanthropy. These outstanding philanthropists serve as inspiration for all of us who endeavor to create a better community for our citizens. 

Past Award Recipients

  • 2023 Robert W. Merrick
  • 2022 Demario Davis
  • 2021 Marcus V. Brown
  • 2019 Roger Ogden
  • 2018 Mary Keller Zervigon
  • 2017 J. Wayne Leonard
  • 2016 Alexis Hocevar
  • 2015 David Fennelly
  • 2014 John Hollowell
  • 2013 Gary & Mary Ann Ostroske
  • 2012 Carol Wise
  • 2011 Karen & Henry Coaxum
  • 2010 William Goldring
  • 2009 Phyllis M. Taylor
  • 2008 Chef Emeril Lagasse
  • 2007 New Orleans Saints
  • 2006 Kim Sport
  • 2004 Robert W. Merrick
  • 2002 Harry J. Blumenthal, Jr.
  • 2001 Hans A.B. Jonassen
  • 2000 Frank B. Stewart, Jr.
  • 1999 Gerard A. Brechtel
  • 1998 Florence W. Schornstein
  • 1997 Hope and Michael Read
  • 1996 Edwin Lupberger
  • 1995 James R. Moffett
  • 1994 Sr. Anthony Barczykowski, D.C.
  • 1993 William F. Wallace, III
  • 1992 John K. Roberts, Jr.
  • 1991 Diana Lewis
  • 1990 Charles Teamer, Sr.
  • 1989 Leon Sarpy
  • 1988 A. Louis Read
  • 1987 C. Allen Favrot
  • 1986 Charles Keller